Next Century

Why are there so few drummer-led rock 'n' roll bands? After all, the drummer is not only the "timekeeper" but — excuse the automotive reference — the sparkplug that crackle-starts the pistons of a song. Marc Bell, better-known as Marky Ramone, kept the beat for his namesake group for more than 15 years (longer than many marriages last) and, before that, for seminal punk combo Richard Hell and the Voidoids. This year saw the release of Start of the Century, a double-disc reissue of his '90s albums with the Intruders, half of which pays tribute to the Ramones but thankfully does not mimic them. Marky's just a man on a mission, to keep fueling the flames of the louder/faster/shorter ethos, bless his heart.

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Mark Keresman